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Umar Zakaria's Jazz Melayu

Thu Mar 23rd, 2017
Pyramid Club,

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Returning from Boston after two years of research, practice and compositional work, bassist Umar Zakaria presents a program of Malay jazz from Malaysia and Singapore, featuring a mixture of traditional tunes, original compositions and arrangements of songs by the Malay composer P. Ramlee. Joining him for this 'Jazz Melayu' performance are saxophonists Oscar Laven and Tyaan Singh, pianist Fraser Walker and drummer (and beloved partner-in-crime) Luther Hunt.

Umar Zakaria is a New Zealand bassist and composer filled with hope for the future. His music unites diverse musical traditions, in an effort to inspire communication and cooperation across ideological boundaries. His innovative compositions and arrangements finely tread traditional boundaries of genre and style. These have been performed and recorded variously by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the New Zealand School of Music Big Band.

In 2016 he graduated from the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston with a Master's degree, having worked closely with jazz luminaries (and winners of the MacArthur 'genius' Grant) Miguel Zenon and Jason Moran. It was at the Conservatory that he began getting in touch with his Malay roots under the watchful eyes of Oud master Malcolm Barsamian, flautist Amir Milstein, vocalist Dominique Eade and Warren Senders, a master of Hindustani 'Khyal' vocal style.

As a jazz bassist, Umar has performed in the United States and the Netherlands as well as in New Zealand. Notably, he has performed with Bob Moses (US), Hagai Bilitzky (Israel), Rob van Bavel (Netherlands), Snorre Kirk (Denmark), Magnus Hjorth (Sweden), Steve Barry (NZ), and Mark Lockett (NZ) among others. A student of legendary bassists Lynn Seaton and Cecil McBee, he was awarded first runner-up at the BASS2014 International Jazz Bass Competition.

Having developed a reputation for emotionally stirring performances, Umar now seeks to cultivate an international performance career in order to spread his message of consciousness in thought and feeling.

jazz, Umar Zakaria

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